When you visit Minsk on a summer weekend and get to the city center, most probably you’ll get to attend a festival. People love getting out of their homes to chill under the sun, listen to music, eat street-food, and take part in numerous activities. The last big festival happens on the second Saturday of September, giving people a chance to prolong their summer and celebrate the city's birthday. Here is the celebrating the birthday of Minsk FAQ.
The Tale of Bygone Years, the most authoritative source of information about East Slavic countries’ history, states that Minsk was captured on the 3rd of March in 1067, before a battle on the Nemiga River. Scientists say that the first settlements appeared there two centuries earlier, but no source can mark any specific year. Curiously, the city birthday was never celebrated on the same date.
On the 6th of February 1712, Minsk governor came back from Rome with relics of saint Felician, the city Patron. The celebration of this event turned into annual Unity Day for all Christians of Minsk with festival parade and fireworks. Tradition ceased with the atheistic USSR government coming into play two centuries later. In 1947, straight after WWII, Stalin decided it’s a good idea to celebrate the 850th anniversary of Moscow, and all republics within USSR used it as an example for their oldest cities. Belarusian government chose the 28th of May 1967, as the best day to mark 900 years jubilee with sports parade, a movie about the city, and opening up a park in a new district.
Starting from 1986, it was celebrated regularly together with Independence Day on the 3rd of July. But, in 2002, the city authorities separated the holidays and moved the City Day to the second Saturday of September. They justified this date as a better one because of harvesting and consequent trade fairs, the better city looks after yearly summer repair works, and more people coming to enjoy the festival after vacations.
All major celebrations like New Year and Independence Day happen around the same places. If you’re in the city center, check out stages near the Sports Palace, Town Hall and Palace of the Republic for folk songs, national dances, random bands, and simple contests. Pop-up shops will be offering festival food like grilled meat, potatoes, pastry, and drinks. Each of the districts in Minsk organizes a celebration at their own venue with their own unique and sometimes hilarious sports program like “racing on high-heels”. I would recommend sticking up to the city center because the main fireworks will be there at 22:00. Hold your friends tight, it’s very easy to lose each other in the crowd.
The city authorities expand the birthday celebration by adding additional program items on Friday and Sunday and incorporating private events like Minsk Half-marathon, the Day of the Tank Driver, Harley Owners Group Rally, etc. Check this celebrating the birthday of Minsk FAQ and turn your weekend into a great end-of-summer festival.
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